By PHOEBE MUTHART
Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee had at its first meeting of the year Monday, Jan. 20. The board heard updates on several projects and plans for 2020.
Construction is moving along for the Conklin Bay boardwalk and trail project. Construction began Oct. 13 and will be completed in the spring of 2020. Photos of the work were shown at the meeting.
The trail will consist of one-third of a mile of boardwalk over the Roland Wetland Conservation Area and continue south with a concrete sidewalk of two-thirds of a mile along the WACF nature preserve and ending at North Grandview Drive.
The boardwalk has been constructed in sections off site and brought to staging areas, where it will be installed with minimal impact to the wetlands. Construction will continue during the winter with minimal impact, helical piles being drilled into marsh area soils, which support galvanized steel frames holding the composite.
Several members said they are being asked questions concerning where the trail is going next.
“Our vision is to go all around the lake (Wawasee),” said Robert Smith, a committee member. “We are getting there.”
Chad Jonsson said he often gets asked the same question. “I get asked ‘where’s the next section going to be’ in parts of Syracuse?” he said.
A new feasibility study is being conducted on a new trail to connect to North Webster. The first phase would go 2.3 miles to Wawasee Middle School and another 4.3 miles south to North Webster. Committee members were shown a map of the proposed project, which is being considered by the town of North Webster.
Erlene Yentes, the new executive director, said the trails’ website has been updated. There are photos and an update of the Conklin Bay project on the website. She said she would also like to post videos on the website, too.
Sponsorships are available, too, on the website for businesses.
More than 5,000 winter newsletters were mailed out recently, and some donations were made as a result, Yentes said.
Trail clean-up sponsorships are being considered, Yentes said. Trail maintenance is one of the areas the committee wants to focus on this year, Yentes said.
“We need to develop a maintenance program,” said Yentes. “We need to develop a simple agreement with sponsors. I’d like to kick this off on Earth Day, April 22.”
Yentes said she is applying for new grants. She is applying for grants from K21 Foundation, Dekko Foundation and a Next Level state grant in May.
She discussed some of the upcoming events, such as the Winter 5K Warm-up this Saturday, Jan. 25, at a new staging area at Oakwood Resort. So far, 35 runners have registered for this weekend’s run. Yentes requested volunteers and several committee members said they could help.
A meeting will be held soon for the 10th annual Tour des Lakes, which is Saturday, July 18. A car show will be Aug. 2 at Oakwood.
Dr. Tom Edington gave the treasurer’s report for December. There was $6,750 in donations and expenses totalled $5,736.67.
The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17. For more information or to view the winter newsletter, visit www.syracusewawaseetrails.com.